Central BBQ Information:
- Address: 2249 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
- Hours: Monday-Sunday 11 A.M. – 9 P.M. (Holidays May Affect These Hours)
- Phone Number: 1-(901)-272-9377
- Website: www.cbqmemphis.com
- Seating: Indoor (Limited Availability At Peak Hours) And Outdoor Options (Heated/Covered Patio)
- Dining Options: Dine-In, Carry-Out, Call-In, Shipping, And Catering Available (Check out their website for shipping and catering options)
- Additional Information: Parking Is Limited At This Location, You May Have To Park On The Street
Initial Thoughts And Reactions: Smoked Chicken Wings Are Like Central BBQ’s Second Born Son
Firstly, this chicken is different and it is good, so Too Long;Didn’t Read (TL;DR) go and get these slow smoked chicken wings. Second, the wings will not change your life, but you’ll be happy that you got them (even, surprisingly, for the price). Are there better wings? Yes, but this restaurant is damn-well run, and they know their sauces.
Third, well, smoked wings have a ton of unique flavor, and the complexity of the smokiness is supremely satisfying. Also, the above average size and quality of the poultry is a welcome change of pace. Additionally, the hot sauce is a slow build of heat, and has its own flavors that you won’t get in a generic, store brand hot sauce.
Admittedly, Central BBQ is not a tried and true chicken wing restaurant, dedicated to one, glorious, task. First and foremost, they are a barbecue joint, and a damn fine one at that!
So, “Wingmeister”, you might say, “isn’t it unfair to judge a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree?”. To which one might reply; of course it’s unfair! However, let’s see if we can’t generate some controversy, since it’s Monday morning and there’s no better way to start a week off right than to fill our inbox with your hate mail!
However, for an in-depth and well-rounded discussion about these wings, read below! There is quite a bit to discuss when it comes to chicken wings, and Central BBQ’s Smoked Hot Chicken Wings are definitely a positive deviation to the, typically, fried chicken wing (although they are somewhat fried).
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Central BBQ’s Smoked Wings Could Use Some Work
Initially, the large wings smell incredible as the employee places them at your table. Salivating, you take photo after photo looking for the best angle, and you try to do the smokey smells justice.
However, unable to convince yourself that it’s worth trying any longer to impress people on the internet with your IPhone 7 photos, you dig in. Moving on to the first bite, you are pleasantly surprised by the sauce, but a little dismayed that the largest drummy you just bit in to is a bit dry.
Anxiously, you begin to regret ordering chicken at a restaurant known for its BBQ Pork Nachos. Instinctively, you panic and consider boxing up the food in order to impulsively get back in line and stick with the familiar foods you know and love.
But, something stays your hand. “What if”, that little voice in the back of your heads squeaks, “we decide to be brave”. Emboldening, you decide to try another bite, then another. Soon enough, you have a bead of sweat dripping down your face as you reach for a paper towel to wipe your nose and clean up your face.
Could it be, in fact, that you actually enjoy them?
The Presentation Is Impressive
To begin, Central BBQ has great presentation for their smoked chicken wings. After all, the culture of barbecue is competition, and presentation is important to overall score. Moreover, size, color, smell and placement are valuable visual cues when barbecue teams think how to best wow the judges.
Take a look for yourself and you’ll see how these wings have a standout appearance:
The Chicken Is Better Than Okay, But Less Than Great
Importantly, this chicken is a little dry. After all, one must take into account that it is slow-smoked, Memphis style. Therefore, the chicken has probably been sitting around all day waiting to be purchased by some customer.
However, don’t let the initial reaction impede the fact that the chicken has a nice, crispy skin and that it is well cooked. Slightly dry or not, this meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, and melts in your mouth.
Besides, you’ll also want to know that this dish is intended as an appetizer dish, and, as such, it is absolutely well-made.
The Hot Sauce is Worthwhile And Unique!
Seriously, if you are interested in trying a sauce uniquely created by professionals for a specific dish, this is it. Also, this hot sauce is better than any store bought brand, and has a (not overwhelming) kick to it.
However, saucy chicken is usually best served with a good smattering of sauce left underneath the chicken so that one can mop it up with fries and the roll. Therefore, even though the presentation looks good, the overall score is lowered due to this stylistic choice.
Lastly, believe us when we say that Sweet Baby Ray’s Hot Sauce is no slouch. Even in light of Central’s delicious hot sauce.
Central’s Chicken Ranks Well, But Remains In Its Own Category
By and large, the food here is absolutely worth purchasing, and the smoked chicken wings come in six unique flavors, wet, naked, jerked, dry spice, honey gold, and sweet heat. You will want to know that this author intends to try these different flavors in the future.
After all, the chicken is high quality, the sauce is a unique hot sauce that defies the dull generic hot sauce flavor, and the tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken is hard to match though the popular frying method.
However, the price comes out to, after tax, $2.00 per wing ($10.99 pre-tax, total). These wings are expensive, and one will do well to keep that in mind, because price per wing matters when scaling up to purchasing larger numbers of chicken.
Additionally, the wings could use a little more sauce, and the blue cheese, while not a part of the chicken itself, is dull and flavorless. In conclusion, the chicken receives a score of 7.7/10.0!
One Might Say You Don’t Need Great Sides At A BBQ Joint
As the title suggests, the french fry in an essential addition to any great chicken wing dish. You’ll find that a crispy, well seasoned crinkle fry (Make your own crinkle fries from home with this!) will add exponential amounts of satisfaction to your meal!
However, Central’s french fries have, in this author’s opinion, disappointed. “But Wingmeister, what about their mac and cheese! or their collard greens! Try those!”, you must be shouting at your screen. To which one might reply, “while those sides are good in their own right, french fries are the proper side to any chicken wing based delicacy”.
In summation, you’ll want to read below to find out the reason for the score we provide for these fries!
Central BBQ’s Fries Deserve Improvement
First, let’s just say that these fries are good, as far as your run of the mill straight cut fries go! But, they just aren’t as good as we here at this blog know that Central’s BBQ is capable of.
Next, in line with objective improvements they could make, up the seasoning salt volume! Because these fries could use a more serious dusting of tasty, seasoned powder in my humble opinion.
The Final Score
At the very least, straight cut french fries can be used to mop up excess sauce left over from the wings (we go into this more in our post about Wilson’s Wings ‘n Things). However, with little to no excess sauce available, these less than crispy bois become a burdensome, under seasoned filler.
Because this author knows it is easy enough to criticize most things, one must also acknowledge the positives. In fact, these fries seem intentionally underwhelming. Resultant, one might say that a barbecue restaurant may not want their fries to take away from the smoky flavors they work so hard to attain!
After all, the food here is actually really, really good. Consequently, one can overlook small things like average fries. As a result, this author gives the french fries a candid 6.4/10.0!
Finally, after all this hullabaloo, we’ve reached our verdict. Combining the prestigious food that this barbecue joint has brought to the Memphis community over the years. Including the popularity that Central BBQ has, and their above average service. Considering that this author genuinely likes their menu (get the BBQ Pork Nachos with french fries instead of chips, TRUST ME!). One must then conclude with a Good Chicken!, overall rating of 7.7/10.0!